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Obama expects to get earful on Midwest bus tour

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[August 13, 2011]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is expecting an earful from regular folks, including supporters, over their frustrations with Congress and some of Obama's decisions when he sets out on a three-day, campaign-style bus tour of Midwestern states next week.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday that people of all political persuasions will see Obama in their towns in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, and will use the occasion of the presidential visit to take their concerns straight to the top.

"The president does anticipate that he'll detect a little frustration about the dysfunction in Congress and the strident position of some in Congress to put their parties and affiliation ahead of the country," Earnest said, as he tried to set expectations for the tour.

"I also anticipate that there will be some people who are supporters of the president, who voted for him last time, who will have some questions for him about the compromises that he was willing to make in the context of this deficit debate," he added.

A bill Obama signed this month to keep the government from defaulting on its debt didn't include tax increases that Obama had insisted were needed to help to trim the federal budget in a balanced way. Republicans refused to accept any tax hikes as part of the deal.

With jobs and the economy a top concern for the public and politicians alike, the White House says the bus tour was designed to get Obama into the heartland and discussing ideas for growing the economy, jump-starting hiring and helping the middle class during sessions with small-business owners, families, private sector leaders, rural organizations, local government officials and others.

The president will hold five public events over three days in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

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The tour begins Monday with a town hall-style event in Cannon Falls, Minn., followed by a second question-and answer session in Decorah, Iowa.

On Tuesday, Obama will hold a rural economic forum in Peosta, Iowa.

Before returning to the White House on Wednesday, Obama will preside at town hall-style events in the Illinois towns of Atkinson and Alpha.

On Thursday, he plans to join his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha, on their annual vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

[Associated Press; By DARLENE SUPERVILLE]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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